After Pacific Gas & Electric equipment sparked a massive fire that burned much of Paradise, Calif., and killed 86 people in 2018, the utility vowed a safety campaign aimed at preventing similar disasters.
PG&E said it would bury some power lines snaking through Northern California forest land, significantly reducing the risk of wildfires caused when winds damage equipment. Among the power lines set to be buried was a 10-mile stretch that may have started this year’s destructive Dixie fire, now the second largest in California history.
The situation underscores the rising scrutiny PG&E is facing this summer as a string of huge fires across Northern California have raged amid hot, dry conditions. PG&E power lines might have been responsible for at least three of those fires, according to documents the utility has filed with state regulators and a federal court. Legal liability from the devastation in Paradise and other wildfires pushed PG&E into bankruptcy and brought vows that the utility would fix its power grid. But the new fires have brought new outrage and demonstrated that there is still much work to do.
The Dixie fire has now burned more than 480,000 acres in four counties, destroying more than 400 homes and commercial buildings.
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